Sunday, 24 March 2019

meshes of the afternoon

This 1943 experimental short film by spouses and creative collaborators Maya Deren (*1917 – †1961) and Alexander Hammid (*1907 - †2004) delivers a surreal round and refrain of motifs that have become the diaphanous displacements for several music videos and directors such as the iconic David Lynch (previously). The directors themselves portraying the two characters whose interior experience cannot be documented for another to see or experience, the plot follows a strange stream of dissociative nightmares where repetitive, simple tasks become outsized in their difficulty and importance, a feature that can be common to dreams, and ends without a settled resolution.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

it’s mueller time

After an astounding six hundred and seventy-five days, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has relayed to the US judiciary that he has concluded his investigation charged with exploring Russian meddling into the 2016 presidential campaign and to what extend the Trump campaign was involved.
There is overwhelming political and public will for a full disclosure of the report, including whatever sources that the commission used to come to conclusions of guilt or innocence—or most likely inconclusive of either. Whether exculpating—unlikely—damning or excoriating, it is really going to be a challenge to subject the same evidentiary material to interpretation, especially considering the received immunity that the office of the president has from persecution which really sets a high-bar for passing judgment. It’s the antithesis of due-process to besmirch and condemn someone for being not quite a criminal—as bad as those liminally rotten scoundrels can be—and puts too high a bar on revealing the patent but evasive true character of those under scrutiny. What do you think?  No one believes that the Trump crime syndicate is beyond reproach, legally or ethically, but perhaps we’ve vested too much faith and energy in couching that repugnance in a legal framework that both dissenters and supporters might recognise and acknowledge.

the queen of wands

We are directed to an exhibit that divines the often unattributed illustrator responsible for the most iconic and authoritative suites of tarot cards in existence out of obscurity and back into the prominence deserving of an individual that designed a deck that’s sold millions and the subject of frequent homage (see also here, here and here).
Pamela Colman Smith (*1878 – †1951)—who also went by the nickname of Pixie—was the amanuensis and muse of scholarly mystic Arthur Edward Waite (*1857 – †1942), to whom Smith was introduced by William Butler Yeats whilst working on commissions by the poet and playwright by mutual membership in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a society heavily into theurgy and cartomancy. Not to be pigeonholed only with the occult, Smith, aside from illustrating the works of Yeats, Bram Stoker and others also lent her talents to creating protest posters for the woman’s suffrage movement and for relief campaigns during the war for the Red Cross. In 1909, she interpreted Waite’s Key to Tarot in visual form and managed to produce eight refined pictures in the course of six months—two more cards than the standard major and minor arcana of seventy-eight with it being a mystery what those extraneous cards represented. Much more to explore at Hyperallergic at the link above.

the road’s my middle name

Courtesy of Kottke’s Quick Links, we are reminded that thirty years ago this week (21 March 1989), Bonnie Raitt—indulged by her record label to make the album that she wanted to make since they didn’t have very high expectations for its commercial success—released Nick of Time. Knowing later how formative the songs were to a generation who heard them on cassette tapes on car rides, Raitt did not mind being hailed as a come-back or even characterised as a woman of a certain age achieving success despite her circumstance.

elf uhr

Via Strange Company, we find ourselves transported to the cantonal capital of Solothurn at the foot of the Jura Mountains to explore its long held affinity with the number eleven (öufi in the local Swiss-German dialect)—though no one quite has the definitive answer for the association that can be found everywhere—the 11th canton to join the confederation, home to 11 guilds, plus 11 churches and chapels, 11 towers of the former town wall, and a cathedral with 11 altars, bells and steps. According to one source it was adopted in deference to a team of work coach elves (Elf in German is both an Elf and the number) who came down from the Weissenstein, the promontory that dominates the city, and helped make the long-toiling inhabitants more prosperous.

god help this american kid

Our gratitude to the always excellent Fresh Air (do listen to the entire episode) for acquainting us with the musical stylings of singer song-writer and guitarist Carsie Blanton. Incredibly, Buck Up is Blanton’s sixth album and all of them sound pretty spectacular and empowering. Learn more at the links above and the artist’s website.